It felt like opening of a sweat-dripping, body flailing, hardcore show—and in some respects, it was. The atmosphere was lively, everyone bubbling with anticipation as they eagerly awaited the arrival of two of post-rock’s biggest titans. This was especially surprising given that Toronto’s cold winter winds had begun to descend upon the city. As the cool breeze began to seep through the crack in the dimly-lit venue, Toronto’s own Bulletproof Tiger took to the stage wielding their guitars and drum sticks. The musically-adept band ran through a string of singles, all of which were very technical and spanned a wide range of time signatures. After their mind-bending performance, the Torontonians exited the stage, but not before hollering out praise to the following acts.
Prior to their performance, I had little, to no knowledge of 65daysofstatic or their imposing brand of disparate post-rock—glitchy, back-breaking electronica might be the best way to describe it. Each of their songs had a whiplash effect, yet the crowd were deeply entranced by this static-y formulae. At one point, it became very apparent that many of those that packed their way into this dingy venue were more familiar with the Sheffield rockers than their American counterparts. Needless to say, when they took to the stage they were welcomed with open arms.
For a band I hadn’t thoroughly acquainted myself with before, they quickly had me engaged. What really caught my eye, was how emotionally involved the group were in their own music; each member put their back into their instrument as they jumped (albeit, awkwardly) around on stage. While their music may not have lent itself to this strange performance, from what I could tell, the band seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
When the Brits finished their set and began to pack up their strange and otherworldly synthesizers, a large group of hardcore ‘Static fans filed out with them. What was left was a small group of about 200 onlookers (including myself) and an open stage—a blank canvas, if you will. After patiently awaiting the arrival of Caspian for over 2 hours, the band finally emerged out a suspiciously-lit greenroom, where they look to have been holed up for a good portion of time. Quietly sauntering on stage, they appeared focused and ready as any post-rock band should.
To open things up, the band unleashed their cataclysmically-driven album closer, “Fire Made Flesh.” (If you haven’t heard it, it sounds like the anthem to a rough-and-tough biker gang; in other words, EPIC!) A couple of other notable favourites made their way into the band’s setlist, including “Moksha” and “Halls of Summer,” but the band really didn’t show their true colours until their performance of “Gone in Bloom and Bough.” It was there that lead-guitarist Philip Jamieson—with his tall, statuesque figure—dug his boots into the ground and stomped his tree trunk-sized legs on the stage. From the impending build to the final bridge, the group filled the room with a powerful aura that could be felt from the floor to the ceiling. There was nothing to distract you, nothing to take away from the music; it was a release of sorts, and one that I’ll never forget.
Photos by Tom McCaul